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What does 'as' mean in the following sentence?

"Have you seen the Parthenon in Nashville? It's a marvellous thing. I mean, there's nothing else in the world that gives us as vivid a sense of what the [original] Parthenon was like."

My guesses are:

  1. Is it part of the comparative construction 'as...as' with its last part (i.e. as that) implied? And if so, in what cases does it happen? I have not seen anything like that before.
  2. From the context, I would expect to see in place of 'as vivid a sense' something like: 'such a vivid sense' or 'so/that vivid a sense'. So, could 'as' here mean the same as "such/so/that"? I couldn't find such a meaning of 'as' in any of my dictionaries, though. And if that is the case, would a sentence like 'The Parthenon in Nashville gives us as vivid a sense (= such a vivid sense) of what the original Parthenon was like.' sound ok? Or should some kind of comparison always be involved?
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  • I think your first suggestion is correct. It's basically "there's nothing else in the world that gives us as vivid a sense of what the [original] Parthenon was like as the Parthenon in Nashville does."
    – stangdon
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 21:32

1 Answer 1

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"As vivid" here means "similarly vivid to the current thing." Imagine the sentence as "There's nothing else in the world that gives us as vivid a sense of what the [original] Parthenon was like [as the Parthenon in Nashville does]." So yes, the comparison that comes from "as" is indeed implied.

This can be done in other circumstances as well, when the preceding sentence clearly discusses the thing being compared. For example, "I love puppies. There are no other pets as playful."

"As" is always used for comparison, so your example sentence wouldn't work. Here, the comparison is implied rather than specified outright like I did in the example above, but it is still a comparison: comparing the "vivid sense of what the Parthenon was like" that one gets from the Parthenon in Nashville and from all other places (ie. pictures and the like).

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